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Cabinet Could Be Reshuffled Soon

Posted November. 23, 2005 08:11,   


Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan hinted yesterday at a reshuffling of the Cabinet early next year ahead of the third anniversary of President Roh Moo-hyun’s inauguration.

When Lee met with reporters on his way to the United Arab Emirates, the first stop of his visit to five Middle East countries, he said, “A reshuffling of the Cabinet is usually carried out at the beginning of the year and in July,” adding, “I expect it to be carried out after the regular National Assembly session is finalized.”

Quoting press reports that a reshuffling of the Cabinet will coincide with the third anniversary of President Roh’s taking office, Lee ruled out the possibility of carrying out a reshuffling of the Cabinet at the end of this year, saying, “If the government does not do it early next year, the press might be critical.”

Regarding this, an official from the prime minister’s office accompanying Lee said, “The prime minister’s remark on a possible reshuffling of the Cabinet was not a joke.”

Regarding the Ministry of National Defense’s report in which it reported a plan to cut the Korean contingent in Iraq by 1,000 troops to the ruling Uri Party a day after President Roh and U.S. President George W. Bush held a summit meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Gyeongju on November 17, Lee said, “The fact that the sensitive issue of the curtailment of the Zaytun Unit’s strength was revealed when Bush was in Korea showed that the National Defense Ministry failed to keep it under wraps,” adding, “I express regret for it.” However, Lee said, “The issue of reducing the number of Korean troops in Iraq was brought up with the U.S. in advance at a working-level.”

Meanwhile, concerning the upcoming ruling by the Constitutional Court on November 24 on whether the special law for building an administrative-focused city is unconstitutional, Lee said, “I think that there is no possibility that this law will be found unconstitutional.”

Hyung-June Park lovesong@donga.com